Archive for February, 2011

A Versatile South American Red: Domaine Monte de Luz 2008

February 24th, 2011 No comments

Domaine Monte De Luz 2008

The Tannat grape is believed to have its origins in the Basque region; however, its use in winemaking is associated with the Madrian region in southwestern France.  One of the easiest varietals to grow, Tannat does quite well in South America, Uruguay in particular.

The  Tannat Domaine Monte de Luz 2008 is a very rustic wine with a nose that includes dark berries amidst prominent vegetables with a hint of earthiness.  This very opaque wine’s dark berry flavor opens to include traces of other complementary fruits.

Tannat Grapes

Tannat Grapes (from Wikipedia)

The body is soft, with appropriate weight, and the finish is soft yet slightly acidic with exposed tannins.  Uruguay has been well known for the Tannats it produces, and the Domaine Monte de Luz 2008 does not disappoint.

Though lacking great complexity, this wine is a versatile sipper, making it a great complement to a variety of grilled poultry and even some hearty meats (Steak makes an especially good partner!). And if you’re sautéing onions, try adding a splash (or two) to the frying pan. The Domaine Monte de Luz 2008 even pairs well with spicy dishes, too.  Overall, I am pleased with the variety of food pairings to which this Tannat lends itself.  Having a few extra bottles on hand is not a bad idea!

All Good Wines Take Time

February 22nd, 2011 No comments

GrapesServing wine is a ritual for the senses, similar to having British tea. There’s the artful process of wine selection followed by bottle presentation, uncorking, pouring, relishing the initial aroma of the nose, taking the first sip followed by a lengthier taste to judge both body and finish, and so on. The process of serving wine is not meant not be hurried; this ritual is meant to be savored. Even the glassware and wine opener should be selected with care to evoke the occasion’s desired mood. A cheap corkscrew will clearly not evoke the same aesthetic response as a beautiful, antique-plated Rogar Champion wine opener, for example.

Although some people attempt to rush the ritual, wine cannot be hurried. Its flavors open in their own time. While several products exist to help speed up the aeration process, allowing wine time to naturally aerate in the glass or a decanter is essential to any exciting tasting journey. Sipping a very closed wine, then experiencing how its flavor changes as it begins to open make the wine tasting experience a delight. There’s something magical about how a closed wine will, in a few minutes, begin to breathe, allowing its taste to be unlocked more fully. The expectation and surprise that arise as a wine opens is also symbolic of timeless adage that “all good things take time.” There are certainly many good things that take time in this life, and should! Wine tasting–like most aspects of wine’s creation and enjoyment–is definitely among them.

Featured: EuroCave Wine Cabinets

February 17th, 2011 No comments

If you’ve ever wanted a way to put wine storage in your dining room, living room or other social space without altering the look and feel of your space, EuroCave‘s fine-furniture looks will definitely be to your liking. Today, I want to feature one of the most elegant wine cabinets on the market: the EuroCave Elite 283 with glass doors.

EuroCave Elite wine cabinet The EuroCave Elite series features solid beechwood cabinetry in a choice of 8 finish options, including the choice of leaving it unfinished so that you can have it custom finished to match other furniture. As you can see in the above photo, EuroCave’s finishes are rich and almost mirror-shiny. We have mahogany finished cabinets available on the website, but you can call us to order another finish. Our staff will be happy to help you choose the right options for your EuroCave cabinet.

eurocave elite finish colors

EuroCave Elite cabinets are available in 7 finish colors or unvarnished so you can have it finished to match other furniture.

Your EuroCave Elite 283 single-temperature cabinet comes with 2 adjustable shelves, one display shelf and four beech-trimmed rolling shelves. But if you like to customize, you’ll be pleased to know that you can order adjustable display shelves, rolling tasting shelves and presentation shelves as upgrades to your cabinet. Seen through the glass door, the wood-trimmed shelves add to the rich looks of this French-styled cabinet. But if you prefer, you can also get this cabinet with a solid wood door.

The EuroCave Elite 283 holds approximately 223 bottles, depending on shelf configuration and the size of your bottles. It will keep each and every bottle perfectly chilled, and with humidity management systems it will also keep the corks in great shape so you’re never disappointed by corked bottles. If you like to store both reds and whites, you may want to look at the multi-temperature version as well. Basically, EuroCave has thought of everything; the EuroCave Elite cabinets combine elegance and style with top of the line cooling and humidity management, along with enough options to ensure you get exactly what you want from your wine cabinet.

Oh, and did I mention: The EuroCave Elite wine cabinets are currently on sale for around $1000 off their regular retail price. Find a better price somewhere else? We’ll do our best to match it. Just give us a call at 1-800-876-8789.

Great Wines for Valentine’s Day

February 14th, 2011 No comments

postcardValentine’s Day is today! Still in need of a perfect gift?  This year, think about forgoing the teddy bear and heart-shaped jewelry.  Instead, get her a romantic gift you can enjoy together: wine.  Here are some great choices for romance on the 14th.

Great with chocolate-covered strawberries: This valentine’s day classic is perfection with another classic: Champagne.  Pop a bottle of bubbly, line up those gorgeous strawberries on a pretty platter, and get ready to enjoy them together.  If you don’t want to spend the cash on authentic French champagne, you don’t have to!  Prosecco, an Italian sparkling wine, and Cava, a Spanish bubbly, are great options without the label-induced price spike.  Cheers!

Great with steak: Nothing says “I love you” like a meal prepared with your own two hands.  Never mind that it’s February, get out there and grill!  Steak is rich and indulgent, a great choice for Valentine’s Day.  Try this Steak with Rosemary Red Wine Sauce for something a little extra special.  Use your favorite rich, dry red for the sauce and to drink with the meal.  Need a suggestion?  Try this 2007 Ravenswood Zin–perfection with a juicy grilled steak.

Great with chocolate: Chocolate is a classic gift for a reason.  But this year, try something a little different: a chocolate and wine pairing made specially for the one you love.  Whether her favorite is white, milk, or decadent dark, there’s a perfect wine to bring out all the flavors she loves so much.  Our guide on chocolate pairing makes it easy.  Happy Valentine’s Day!

Wine Storage Tourism?

February 10th, 2011 2 comments

Wine cellar in an old mine in Cricova, Moldova

Image source:

This morning, I was doing something that you may very well have been doing just seconds ago: Browsing the web for wine-related news. I came across an article (a well-illustrated one, too!) about the underground wine cellars of Moldova.

Now odds are good that you can’t find Moldova on a map (I can’t), and you may never have even heard of this tiny eastern European country. However, Moldova is apparently the 7th largest wine exporter in the world, and the limestone-mines-turned-wine-cellar house hundreds of bottles of wine. These cellars have made the town of Cricova a tourist attraction worthy of being visited by wine enthusiasts in particular, although the beauty of the area attracts a variety of tourists.

This all got me thinking about wine storage tourism. We’re all pretty familiar with the idea of wine tourism–Napa Valley, French wine country–but you don’t hear about wine storage tourism, by which I mean travel aimed at seeing historic wine storage sites. The mine-cellars of Moldova cannot possibly be the only historic wine storage site worthy of tourist traffic.

Have you ever been on a wine-storage tourism jaunt, or included a wine storage site in your itinerary? We’d love to hear about where you went and what you saw!

Sensaphone Wine Cellar Monitoring System

February 7th, 2011 No comments

wine cellar monitoringIf you’re a wine collector, you know that maintaining a constant humidity and temperature in your cellar is essential.  Your cellar is fitted with high-tech temperature and humidity controls that keep your bottles in the environment they need.  And those bottles represent a significant investment

But what happens if your power goes out?  The conditions in your cellar could shift dramatically, endangering your valuable collection.

The solution to this problem is an electronic wine cellar monitoring system, and Sensaphone offers a particularly elegant product.  The Sensaphone Wine Cellar Monitoring System keeps an eye on your wine cellar so you don’t have to.  If your power goes out or a break-in occurs, Sensaphone will track you down and let you know, calling multiple phone numbers until it reaches you.  Sensaphone can warn you if your smoke alarm goes off, if there’s a fire, if there’s flooding, or if your temperature or humidity are off-target.  You can even call your Sensaphone to make sure that all is well in your cellar, making it a great choice for someone who travels a lot or has multiple homes.

Your wine cellar represents a large investment, and making sure that investment is protected will give you peace of mind.

New Arrival: CellarCool CX Cooling Units

February 3rd, 2011 No comments

CellarCool CX 2200 wine cellar cooling unit

CellarCool CX 2200, for wine cellars up to 265cf

We’re pleased to announce a new product line! The CellarCool wine cellar cooling units are now available. CellarCool’s cooling systems are designed to offer excellent cooling power and dependability, at a price that’s affordable for beginning collectors. They are available in sizes for cellars from 265 to 2000 cubic feet and start at under $1000. The CellarCool systems are designed for simple through the wall installation, but should not be vented into areas where the temperature may exceed 85 degrees since they have a 30 degree temperature differential. This makes them best suited for indoor installations. The CellarCool CX series maintains temperature with a digital thermostat control that’s easy to set and read. Four models are available for various cellar sizes, and since the units are built in the same size and shape as other popular brands, CellarCool CX cooling units are typically a direct replacement for Breezaire and Wine Mate cooling units.

So if you’re in the market for your first wine cellar cooling system, or you need a solid and affordable replacement for your aging cooling unit, check out the CellarCool CX line of cellar cooling systems. Have questions? Leave a comment or give us a call–the Vintage Cellars team is here to help!

Wine Review: 2008 La Cocina Tempranillo

February 1st, 2011 No comments

la cocina tempranillo

To me, there’s nothing like a good Tempranillo.  Tempranillo is often referred to as Spain’s “noble grape,” and it is used to make bold wines with lots of character.

Tempranillo is one of a combination of wines that makes Rioja, the famous red wine of Spain.  But Tempranillo is wonderful by itself as well.  It’s a full-bodied red wine that is well-balanced by a signature dusty, earthy taste.  It’s a great sipping wine, perfect for sharing amongst friends.

The 2008 La Cocina Tempranillo is a great wine for red wine lovers in search of a good deal (and who isn’t?)  For around $10 a bottle, it’s a great weeknight wine.  This is a ripe, rich wine that would pair equally well with a simply grilled steak or pasta in a simple tomato sauce.  It’s got a pleasant earthiness that’s reminiscent of dust and leather backed up by juicy raspberries.  It’s a no-frills wine perfect for a night of toasting good times with friends and family.   Pick up a bottle and savor it.